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ASK Cubby, 02.12.2014, Version- Your Questions, My Drivel

ASK Cubby

“Helion Criterion

I want to upgrade my spur gear for my helion criterion and it’s getting annoying trying to find anything for this buggy. I have upgraded my pinion gear and like the reviews say the stock spur gear gets worn VERY easily especially with the new 31t spur gear it doesn’t help I upgraded my motor to a brushless motor. I would like to know if your Exotek direct spur gear hub would work for my buggy. As well as can you direct me to how many teeth I may want to run with my 31t 48p spur gear. I personally was looking for a 62t to 65t.

James J.”

Cubby- Yo hey James, quite the interesting question/rant you have there.

It was difficult to follow your email, or perhaps it’s late and I just don’t care, but after skimming it here is my reply.

No, yes, perhaps and maybe. Have a nice day and thanks for writing in.

LOL. Ok, for sure you have a Helion Criterion buggy and you are having wear issues with the spur gear. We’ve tried a few different spurs on the Helion and ended up using one from a Vaterra Twin Hammers. The Twin Hammers spur takes a tiny bit of trimming with a hobby knife in the slipper pad area and it’s good to go. Oh ya, it last wayyyy longer than the stock Helion unit does.

As far as gearing goes, that depends on a lot of factors. It depends on the kV of your brushless motor, your tires, your cell count, ambient temp, etc. Lets say you pop on the Twin Hammers spur, which is a 78 (if I remember correctly, it’s been a while, feel free to Google it). Start off with the smallest pinion in your box, hopefully around a 16 or so and keep adding teeth until you get your desired performance or until you start seeing motor temps of 140’ish.

Go fast, turn left, and send lots of Dom.

The next letter is a longggg rant on ARRMA, to read it and my response hit the “Read More” button…

“ARRMA Granite Discontinued…Rant

Hello, thank you for such an informative site. I have found that I reference several articles within prior to purchase decisions in much the same way that I would save a library of print magazines, catalogs, etc 30 years ago. I appreciate the information, and objective nature of your shootouts, reviews, and spotlights. Advertising revenue has had such a painfully obvious impact on the content of other publications (notably print ones with trendy acronyms like RCCA).

The purpose of this note is to request that you please utilize your power of influence to persuade the powers that be to make the ARRMA Granite Mega available again. Seriously, WTF? My M.O. over the last several years has been to study data, comparing one vehicle’s features and benefits, arbitrary online reviews, etc to another before laying down cash, primarily focusing on the latest and greatest trends in high end brushless, lipo, and other buzzword gadgetry. Upon reading your impressions of the ARRMA Granite in the review, Basher of the Year, and shootout articles, I realized that I had lost myself in the data; I just want something to play with in the backyard between meetings, dinners, etc. What an epiphany, have fun, with a product that fits well into my budget and offers an excellent value. I went to Tower Hobbies to buy one, and guess what; discontinued. How can a vehicle that won your coveted basher of the year award less than 2 years ago be discontinued? Replaced by a “new” model that offers less value at a lower price point. Plastic gears, fixed molded camber links, etc. Maybe it even comes with a Tamiya connector for a NiCd battery. All the things that you all pointed out regarding the original ARRMA Granite, metal tranny, brushless ready, Chrome wheels (need more chrome in this business) adjustable, durable, upgradeable, etc made me want one are now replaced by a price point POS that is barely 1 step beyond a RadioShack “model”, which by the way, isn’t available for the next 3 months! Sure I could step up my game and budget and go for a BLX model, but at that price point of $379, I already have my eyes set on the Duratrax 835E for $399 (less $50 for the e-mail Tower sends every day).

I am perplexed by the logic behind the decisions, unless the Granite Mega was a loss leader intended to garner marketshare until they just couldn’t afford to sell it anymore. Either way, I will have to reevaluate my purchase decision and go for 2nd or 3rd place in your shootout, or maybe consider one of the newer entries from Hellion or ECX into that $200 range backyard fun bucket. Sadly, ARRMA no longer falls into the evaluation. That is, of course, you fellas review and shootout the price point replacement for the Granite and determine that somehow a product with much less content for a $20 lower price point offers more value than its predecessor. I would prefer that they just offer the product that they made me want after years of marketing dollars, and playing underdog to the evil empire.

Am I the only asshole disappointed by this? Are you guys going to beat the shit out of the new Granite? Or maybe I should just convert my slash 4×4 to run 1/8th scale buggy treads and put the $200 I planned to spend on a new toy into health insurance or something else grownup-like.

Thank you for reading my rant!

Scott S.”

Cubby- Yo Hey Scott, nice rant, I dig it, keep’em coming. We don’t normally post super long emails like yours, but from time to time its cool to get one out there so people can see what our readers are thinking.

To get everyone up to speed here, ARRMA has changed their line-up for 2014, with a lower end “Mega” brushed line-up, and their better equipped “BLS” brushless line. Our reader Scotty is complaining about how ARRMA has cheapened up the Mega line compared to the previous brushed version.

So what would prompt ARRMA to ship the Mega series vehicles with less features? That’s pretty obvious, they are simply looking to hit a cheaper price point. Right now it is priced at $20 less than the previous model, but if you’ve noticed, several of the models under the Hobbico umbrella get discounted a few months after release. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Mega line is quite a bit cheaper a few months down the road, thus making it a good value compared to the previous model.

I can assure you the minds at Hobbico/ARRMA are some of the best in the biz, they went with some cheaper parts on the Mega series to ultimately make more money, and that is only going to happen if it ends up being a better value to end users. The BLS brushless line is dialed and loads of fun, the Mega series (I’m just speculating here as I have no inside info on it) has been aimed one price point down the rung from the original in an effort to increase sales. That might not result in the best equipped vehicle for you personally, but might be much more appealing to consumers on the fence of buying a RedCat/Exceed/Super low-end machine.

The bigger problem I have is something you also brought up in your email, large gaps in availability. That is a problem seen all over the industry, inventory management (and getting the OEM to fire up your product exactly when needed) is no easy task in this, or any industry. You gotta strike when the iron is hot and too many times in our hobby the truck that everybody wants is on backorder for weeks (or months!!!) at a time.

Oh and… are we going to beat the shit out of the new Granite? LOL, we beat the crap out of everything. Trucks. Tools. Transmitters. Heck, even pit mats. LOL. So ya, it’ll (the Granite) get the normal torture testing. 🙂

Cool email Scott, may the powers that be read it and make notes.

That’s it for this week ya freaks, shoot your questions/rants/responses/gibberish to Cubby at If your letter hits the front page you get a free sticker pack, if I proclaim yours as “Letter of the Month” you’ll get a free BSRC t-shirt.

YOUR Cub Reporter

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Posted by in Ask Cubby on Thursday, February 13th, 2014 at 11:41 am